Viewing 27 posts - 1 through 27 (of 27 total)
  • What makes a good utility/beater/town/-1car type bike?
  • snotrag
    Full Member

    I’m looking for a dirt cheap town bike that will only ever go from home to the post office/Co-op/chippy/school drop off.

    I remember my time in a bike workshop and the variety of the ‘utility’ bikes we used to get in, and some of the innovative bodges they had.

    I’m scouring ebay/Facebook waiting for the right thing to come up, ideally I want:

    – A top tube (for the shotgun seat)
    – A rack (for the de rigeur zip tied on plastic crate!)
    – V brakes
    – A hub gear ideally, as schools up a big hill. Don’t really want external deralliers or a 3x system though.
    – Guards.
    – Black!

    What else makes for the ideal “run for the post box and a pint of milk” type bike?

    Any useful things or things not to miss?

    It will live outside in the garden, as having it locked away with the proper stuff just adds another barrier to not using it and jumping in the car instead.

    wordnumb
    Free Member

    Visible rust to deter thieving.

    alpin
    Free Member

    Bullit.

    alpin
    Free Member

    Or a.n.other cargo bike.

    Seriously, they’re future and solution to 80% of people’s transport needs.

    Had mine for two years now. It’s covered over 8,000km. My van has done 4,500km in that time and those trips were generally long ones.

    Get a cargo bike.

    midlifecrashes
    Full Member

    If you are afraid to leave it locked up, it’s pointless. Buy this.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/134214127830

    We have three in our house, mine and two step through.

    snotrag
    Full Member

    @alpin ill be spending maybe £50—£80, for something that might do 4 or 5 miles a week!

    The one that @midlifecrashes posted looks ideal, if not a bit fancy! Bit far from me but I’ll keep my eye out for those.

    tthew
    Full Member

    Those frame mounted locks on the real gents bike are ace. Makes them impossible to just ride off on and coupled with the a weighty bike, not easy to carry away either! You can get a chain that plugs into a hole on the side opposite the key for better security.

    plus-one
    Full Member

    Old fixed wheeler is what you need. Find a gear that works/zero maintenance too.

    I commute/shop run(use backpack) any appointments.

    midlifecrashes
    Full Member

    The bike is called Classic, the brand is Real. They were sold by Halfords for ages so there are loads about. The lock and lights on the ebay one weren’t included on the bike, but the frames have the correct lock mounts on there so no need for adapter or bodging. The full chain case means I only oil mine once every few years if I take the back wheel off, which is a bit of a faff so I use a tube with sealant so punctures pretty rare. I bought mine off the classifieds here about a decade ago, and the seller contacted me months later trying to buy it back. IMO these ones are the right mix of Dutch usefulness with components I and UK bike shops understand. Mine has big panniers bolted and zip tied on and a few bungies tucked away for carrying big boxes.

    Blazin-saddles
    Free Member

    Mrs BS’s town bike! An old 26” Dawes alloy frame, that’s actually quite good whilst looking like crap. Single freewheel adjusted to the route she needed to take, v-brakes, slicks. Covered in old innertubes to deter thieves and protect frame from locks and lampposts. Oh, and an XTR M950 crank and dura ace octolink bottom bracket as that’s all I had to build it with!

    It’s for sale if anyones keen? I’d take photos but it’ll look rubbish!

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Sturmey archer 3sp hubs are great. Id have that high on the list

    jkomo
    Full Member

    The best -1car bike ever saw was parked outside Aldi on the Botley road in Oxford.
    I think it was a Kona Ute with a long tail, and had two 1970s Delsey hard plastic suitcases bolted to the foot runners. It looked so ace.

    tails
    Free Member

    Second hand Electra loft similar to the above but alloy frame.
    Decthlon do a few city bikes.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I’m scouring ebay/Facebook waiting for the right thing to come up, ideally I want:

    – A top tube (for the shotgun seat)
    – A rack (for the de rigeur zip tied on plastic crate!)
    – V brakes
    – A hub gear ideally, as schools up a big hill. Don’t really want external deralliers or a 3x system though.
    – Guards.
    – Black!

    Eldest_oab just picked up an Edinburgh Cycles branded bike from his Recykabike that meets all that criteria except the colour – it’s plain silver.
    He’s added a second seat on the rack as it’s Freshers week, clearly assuming he’s taxi for the week…
    Cost him £110, and they even swapped the MTB tyres for barely used Schwalbe Marathons and gave him an elderly front rack to mount himself.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    Raleigh 20. Absolutely theft-proof. And three speed. Fails on the V brakes, mind.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    Can you not just buy some old POS, hybrid or just old bike for <£50 on FB marketplace? Then service it yourself and not worry about it being nicked when you chain it up?

    joshvegas
    Free Member

    Raleigh 20 are the dogs bolleaux, look shit hilarious fun. The folding ones are great for security. Undo the bolt and leave it collapsed in a heap.

    Or if you are feeling posh a kingpin.

    jaminb
    Free Member

    I have one of these. Might be too heavy for your hill but you can guarantee no one will Nick it!

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/225147597234?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=_t83-U6_Tc-&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=mZkX-MgmRwG&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    Similar requirements led me to a stealth-POS which I got off eBay and its one of my favourite bikes. Old Specialized Tricross (I think!) with horizontal dropouts incl carbon fork. Whole lot hammerite’d and pretty well battered. Singlespeed, On-One OG bars, carbon post, Halo wheelset etc. Looks like an absolute POS but is mega light and fast…

    Only thing it falls down on is gears but past experience of things like Nexus/Alfine hubs (gave my old Alfine hubbed wheel away free on here after advertising it as a useless boat anchor!) means I’d much rather ride SS or shove a basic 1x setup on.

    johndoh
    Free Member

    No idea where you are based but in Harrogate there is a charity called Ressurected Bikes – they refurb donated bikes and sell them on – I’ve got two from there in the past week. I am sure there will be similar organisations all over the place.

    DaveyBoyWonder
    Free Member

    Good point johndoh, theres also another in York (think they’re snappily called Re-cycle). I’ve donated some stuff to them in the past but they always have a good range of stuff in…

    irc
    Full Member

    Any old MTB or htbrid frame running 1×8. It is nice being able to replace chain, cassette, and chainring for £30.

    Thankfully the dilly ptices of lockdown are behind us.

    mikertroid
    Free Member

    Claud butler Classic owner here. Fits almost all your requirements other than being 3×8 speed.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    I’d look for something to fit “Old” robust stuff to, minimal modern standards, thinking ideally Drum brakes and Internal gears of some sort

    I’d either look for a cheapo Gas pipe fixie type from a few years back when they were flooding the market, or an old (1970s/80s) Raleigh road or town bike in either case minimal price and rear spacing of 120mm is the ideal, then I’d do/fit the following:

    -Strip all stickers and Rattle Can the frame and fork flat Black (or whatever colour you like)…
    -Dynamo & Drum brake front hub (Sturmey X-FDD)
    -Dynamo lights
    -SKS Chromoplastic Guards (or similar)
    -Rear rack (for crate and/or actual pannier bags, front racks/crates mess with handling IME)
    -A 2 or 3 speed internally geared hub of some sort (Sturmey S2/S2C/A2 or if you can find one a SRAM Automatix or a Sturmey X-RD3 depending on how keen you are to remove cables and clutter Vs having Gears and lever controlled brakes)
    -Vittoria Randoneur tyres (would be my choice)
    -Fit a Kickstand(?)

    I’d also look to go a bit lower than you might initially think on the chainring size to try and accomodate loaded lugging of stuff and how hilly your area is.

    That’s just my musings; my own “Town bike” is a gas pipe fixie, without guards, some old Azonic DH bars, a front rack and crate with a rim calliper front brake, it has shortcomings that could be fixed by doing some of the above to it.

    Speeder
    Full Member

    My list would be :
    Chain guard (or even better a Dutch style chain case as mentioned above for min maintenance requirements)
    Good mud guards – SKS Chromoplastic would be my choice
    Sturmey 3sp hub
    Dutch lock – as mentioned above it makes it almost impossible to just ride off with and can’t really be cut off
    a Dynamo hub and fixed lights would be a bonus but i’s unlikely to be a cheap one.

    Mine is a 1960s Sun gentleman’s bike I picked up for £30 off eBay 15 years ago – it is heavy but with narrow but low bars it’s not slow considering pretty much everything is original and very rarely gets anything other than some chain & hub lube. I love it.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    My list:

    rack of some sort (I can get a sweaty back with a backpack on just by thinking about exercise).

    Chain guard for the trouser cuff protection.

    lights that are easily removable. either fully, like those elasticated lezyne (and copies) ones, or where you can buy the mount again separately should the worst happen.

    26 inch wheels – you can probably tube and tyre it for free from most MTBers shed pile.

    If you dont want single speed, some ancient 1×7 might do you for gearing and will last forever.

    If this is a true 1-less-car, mudguards. If you are going to look out the window and decide between car and bike, I wouldn’t bother.

    Oh and saddles – clearly no need for long distance comfort, but 2 points of caution.
    Cheapo foam filled saddles with a cut or hole in the covering? – the foam stays wet for days and will give an awkward wet spot when you sit on it and compress it, even if the top felt dry to the touch.
    Anything with seams/stiching on the top can ruin a nice/expensive pair of jeans in short order.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    This popped upon YT and I thought of this thread:

Viewing 27 posts - 1 through 27 (of 27 total)

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